Sometimes, you just have to run wild at sunrise with a flash and your favorite lens. Good friend of mine, the photogenic Christian Hill, joined us on the Rideau Canal in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada for some early morning hero shots as we at Captivate get back into the swing of things for this summer!
Canada Day weekend brought with it a horrid heatwave by Canadian standards with it reaching as high as 35°C and 44°C with the humidity index. Now is as good a time as any to take advantage of cooler temperatures in the mornings to get your shoots done if you plan on doing location oriented work.
As photographers we cannot always control everything in our environment but we can sure as hell try. In this case, it meant getting out at around 5 a.m. with a single flash, a stand, and my camera. It may take some extra initiative for some (I am one of those people) but just know that you’re not the only one who hates early-mornings. Personally, I hate the heat way more than I do waking up early. It’s a no-brainer for me.
So get out there and enjoy the morning. Your results will be worth it. I shot these images on a Rebel T5i with a Canon 35mm EF lens. You can get away with using any type of flash you have on hand so long as it isn’t your built-in. Mount that baby above your subject, pointing down at them and you have a recipe for magic.
Happy shooting and be sure to keep up with the blog as we are going to be releasing a lot more content over this summer!
In January 2016, the all Canadian singer-songwriters series NAC Presents celebrated 5 years of loving Canadian music with a live show entitled #FOMO featuring A Tribe Called Red, U.S. Girls, Mehdi Cayenne and The Lionyls. Fantastic live art was provided by Ariane Beauchamp and Robbie of Ottawa’s Fall Down Gallery. Seeing a national institution continue to surprise, inspire and reinvent itself up close through excellent curation, programming and execution is both awesome and encouraging. It was a blast to be a part of the event and to try and distil the energy that was in the National Arts Centre that night into a brief film. There was so much fun footage to work with that it was difficult to encompass a wide ranging showcase into 1 minute and 20 seconds, but I’m delighted with the results, and hopefully it succeeds in it’s task of giving you a case of #FOMO. Filmed by Alexander Vlad and Alex Brazeau for the National Arts Centre. Music by A Tribe Called Red.
A little while after the new year, as is tradition, thousands of media professionals thaw out, sober up or get back to business and say “what the hell happened?” As we begin taking stock of the previous 12 months for cerebral clarity, emotional sentiment, data backups or to draw fresh marketing material for the next push, we hopefully will encounter standouts along the way. For me, this next image is such a standout.
Shot in Bucharest, Romania while working for a Canadian textile import brand called Poco Loco. The gig had taken me all over the country, shooting everywhere from castles to medieval mountain cities, but I finally snagged the frame I was looking for on my last production day in Eastern Europe, in Herastrau Park. After the jump is a narrow crop of the shot, which I also find striking. Oh, and the model’s natural, wild eyes which seem to follow you around the room. Continue reading “DAILY EDIT: Wild Eyes”
Follow indie rockers Lost To The River’s recording process at Gallery Studios in Ottawa, Canada through a three part mini documentary. Formerly known as Miss Polygamy, it has been an honour, and frankly a ton of fun to document the band over the years and to witness their evolution into a more mature, cohesive unit. Shot and edited by Alexander Vlad, with additional camera by Val Volfson, look out for the second episode in the coming days! Check out Lost To The River online at LTTRMusic.com and discover some incredible new music.
In 2012 I had the great privilege of shooting for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) when Doha, Qatar hosted the UN’s COP18/CMP8. COP is the Conference of Parties, basically when the world comes together to figure out how to save the human race from man-made climate change. The other side of the curtain gave me incredible insight into the process, protocol and perils of the climate change debate.
As a photographer, but also as a human concerned with the state of the planet we call home, to see how our collective future is debated over and quantified in geopolitical and economic terms is most definitely sobering and enlightening. It both demystified the workings of geopolitics and compounded the importance of vision, action and compassion when tackling issues of global consequence.
With the recent successes scored at COP21 Paris, I cannot help but look back to my experiences during COP18 and remember just how hard ministers, delegates and activists had to fight for such even the smallest concessions from industrialized nations.
My own country of Canada was actively acting against the interests of low-lying and at-risk nations through climate change policy and took home several “fossil of the day” awards for being environmentally backwards, often touting previous achievements instead of committing to the necessary action in the present.
With cautious optimism, I am pleased that our new government takes such a more proactive stance on climate change and took power just in time to be a positive voice for much of the Paris convention. Stay tuned for Part II.
We love location work at Captivate. Like really, really love it. Near or far and all the challenges and rewards it brings. After a few trips and several months shooting in Europe in 2015, one of my favourite shoots was much closer to home in Montréal. We were working with our friends from Kania Couture, a Canadian based clothing brand that retails online and from their swanky York St (Ottawa) boutique. The gig was to produce a short documentary about their entirely made in Canada manufacturing process, and after wrapping up that portion of the project we had enough time to cast a model and do some fashion portraits in Montréal’s Old Port district. Which, of course, is when the storm hit us.
Location lighting can be tricky enough without dealing with the elements, but heavy rains present their own unique set of challenges. We tackled this by wrapping the lenses in a scarf/rubber band combo, and trusting that the robust Canon 5DmkIII, Speedlite 580exII’s and ziplock bagged transmitters would get us through. For the sake of the model, we tried to keep her out of the rain as much as possible, but to get the shot the lights and myself were almost constantly exposed to the storm. Even still, we worked through a number of looks and locations and had an absolute blast. Check out Kania.ca to see some more of the shots in action!
Over Halloween weekend, Alexander Vlad and Christopher Eades had the opportunity to be the official media lads for the 2015 edition of the Ottawa Wine & Food Festival. Over the last 30 years the event has transformed into an institution, and in addition to industry folks, it consistently draws a curiously well dressed cross section of the general public. The event video is in production now, but here are some of our favourite stills from the show.
It is that time of year once again, Movember. To launch the beginning of Movember, my friend Jeffrey Rafuse (House of Barons) was asked to come to the office of the mayor of Ottawa to give him a straight razor shave. Matt (GM of House of Barons) Jeff and I brought everything necessary for a proper shave including an over 100 year old barber chair to the brief case/shave kit. During the press conference held by mayor Jim Watson, he was sat down and shaved in the boardroom infront of the local press. Thanks for bringing me along.
Captivate is back in Romania for our second euro shoot trip of the year, this time with Christopher Eades joining us on his first overseas jaunt. To celebrate being back in Eastern Europe so soon, we’re kicking this journey off with a small recap of the last one, backed by a mean groove.
The video was shot by Alexander Vlad, Stefan Amariutei and our Romanian colleague with a similar name and predilection of all things Canon, Alex Vlad Covaci.
Still photography in the video by Alexander Vlad. In the coming days we’ll reveal a number of the projects we were working on over here past and present and reconnect with our production family to cook up something new.
Assistance by Stefan Amariutei and Alex Vlad Covaci, who worked like champions all across the country and who helped make this whole enterprise possible.
Video edited by Christopher Eades, who may end up subconsciously learning Romanian by scrubbing footage.
The journey to Transylvania in September / October 2014 also produced some interesting results.
Check out this music video we shot for Loren Dayle during the summer. Simple concept and a very quick shoot, it was fun to see it come together so fluidly. Shot by Alexander Vlad and Christopher Eades. Edited by Alexander Vlad (mostly on a plane).
The day after St-Patrick’s day is usually associated with calling in sick and stepping around puddles of green hurl, but this year (and please for every year after) it was all about rock & roll. Ottawa bad boys of rock and longtime collaborators, Iconoclast, teamed up with Kelowna-based The Wild to rile the crowd up for tour headliners One Bad Son, who in turn blew the roof off of Maverick’s and brought signs of life back to a deeply hungover Rideau Street.
On a blustery March night, Dear Blackwolf (Arturo Portocarrero and Joseph Perry) took to the stage at Irene’s in Ottawa to drive home the final leg of their tour with The Wicked Mercy and Brandon Allen. Described as a “high octane blues rock due” they blend roots and rock genres to create something guitarist Joseph calls rumble music. Photographed by Alexander Vlad.
Check em out online, they’re definitely worth a listen!
Oman was always one of my favourite parts of going to the Middle East. The people, culture, occasional access to bacon (for a Gulf State) and incredible geography all contribute to making it a worthy destination. Even on the way out of the country, our cab driver insisted we had enough time to tour around Sultan Qaboos impressive Al Alam Palace. I had a mini tripod in my carry on bag that required me to spend a good amount of time on my belly, drawing curious looks from the palace guards, but it was worth it to capture the symetry and presence of the front, along with how vibrant it is, in stark contrast to the muted desert colours of palaces in other Gulf monarchies. Photographed by Alexander Vlad.